Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class at Mugello:
Results and summary of MotoGP qualifying
Little became apparent after QP4 that wasn't apparent already. Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, who swapped the top position from FP3, are the two fastest riders out there. Stefan Bradl has found a quick and consistent pace at Mugello and Valentino Rossi remains close but slightly off the pace. None of the top riders -- except Rossi and, much lower in order, Marc Marquez -- set a fastest lap in QP4 as most riders seemed content to run a race pace and work on final set-up before qualifying.
Marquez, who has struggled all weekend, did manage to climb into eight fastest. But while FP4 has no bearing on QP1 or QP2, it likely had a huge bearing on the rookie's confidence.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at Mugello:
Pol Espargaro emphatically ended his early practice struggles with a 1'53.390 to top the timesheets in a supremely close Moto2 FP3 session at Mugello. Esteve Rabat (2nd) and Takaaki Nakagami (3rd) both topped the timesheets at different points in the session and both ended only a few hundreths back of first. In fact, the top 18 riders finished within a second of Espargaro which sets the table for a terrific race come Sunday.
But maybe not for Scott Redding. Redding crashed hard early in the session, an accident said to be caused by a "slippery surface." The championship leader was uninjured but his subsequent best lap time left him at 23rd in the session with qualifying just ahead.
Ben Spies has decided to pull out of the Mugello round of MotoGP, after struggling on the first day of practice at the track. The Texan continues to have problems with a weak shoulder, as he recovers slowly from the surgery performed to correct the damage done in his crash at Sepang last October.
This is the second time that Spies has been forced to withdraw after returning to action too early. After a short period of physical rehabilitation, Spies went straight into winter testing, and then participated in the first race at Qatar, in which he struggled. He tried again at Austin, but was forced to withdraw from that race after developing severe strain in his pectoral muscles as they struggled to compensate for the lack of strength. Spies then decided to skip both Jerez and Le Mans, to recover from both the chest strain and the shoulder surgery, before coming back at Mugello.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo declined to show weakness in the third practice session at Mugello with a hot lap of 1’47.972. The current world champ was the only rider to dip into the 1’47s at the Italian circuit. Current points leader Dani Pedrosa greatly improved his prospects with a lap only two-tenths shy of his rival. And surprise fast man, Stefan Bradl, jumped into the third slot on his final lap of the session.
Bradl’s fast lap not only dropped Valentino Rossi into fourth it also improved the overall mood among the Honda teams which appeared to struggle in earlier sessions.
Well, improved the mood except in the Marc Marquez camp. The sensational rookie crashed hard early in FP3 at turn 12 – giving him a spill in every Mugello practice thus far. He was running in tenth when he went down. After remounting on his second bike, he finished the session in twelfth and will have to run in Q1 for the first time this year.
Aleix Espargaro continued his fine form for 2013 when he put his CRT Aprilia into tenth and ahead of one one factory bike (Marquez) and the satellite prototypes of Badley Smith (Yamaha) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati).
If the Mugello circuit hadn't already been dry late in the third Moto3 practice session, Maverick Vinales blistering hot lap might have done the trick. The young Spaniard, with a 1'59.328, put his KTM nearly half a second clear of the field Saturday. Luis Salom was second-fastest and Jonas Folger placed third at nearly another four-tenths back. To get a picture of how fast Vinales went, the fifth-fastest rider, Miguel Oliveira, was more than a second back.
2013 Mugello MotoGP Friday Round Up: Examining Marquez' Crash, And Yamaha's Fears Of Honda Improvement
There are a lot of things that make Mugello special. Its location, in the heart of Tuscany, a sumptuously beautiful part of the world; its layout, fast, flowing, winding naturally up and round the valley it is set in. The wide open nature of the track, all third and fourth gear combinations which require the perfect combination of intelligence, talent and sheer courage that make it close to the perfect test of skill. It is fast, it is flowing, and it is undulating.
Even the front straight isn't really a straight, but a rolling sinew of asphalt that winds down to the first corner. You come down out of the last turn, hammer on the gas, shifting up to sixth as you go, and ride up the rise towards the crest. Drift right then left through the slight kink in the straight which becomes something resembling a 330 km/h chicane, then just as your front wheel floats free over the crest, you need to get it back down again and get on the brakes for the first corner, the 90 km/h San Donato. The straight and the braking area are immensely difficult to get right, and a simple error can leave you hurtling into the gravel. Or, in the case of Marc Marquez, drifting towards a wall.
Each rider has their own technique, but subtlety is the key to getting it right. Jorge Lorenzo told the press that he does not really brake over the crest nor use rear brake to keep the front down, but instead rolls off the throttle a fraction. This puts the front tire back in contact with the tarmac, and allows him to brake at full force for San Donato. Dani Pedrosa's technique is slightly different, but achieves the same result. "You never really hit the brake at once," he said, "you squeeze and put the pressure a little after."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Mugello:
Tito Rabat continues to show he is a title contender, the Pons Tuenti HP 40 rider setting the best time of the day for the Moto2 class at Mugello. Simone Corsi put his NGM Forward machine into 2nd spot, to the delight of the Italian crowd, while Takaaki Nakagami fell just short of Corsi's time, and was forced to settle for 3rd. Championship leaser Scott Redding ended up 7th, on Friday, just under half a second behind Rabat, while Pol Espargaro could manage only 9th, two tenths slower than Redding.
The factory Yamaha riders have redeemed themselves after a difficult morning at Mugello, taking a one-two in the afternoon session of practice for the MotoGP session. Valentino Rossi looked back to his old form, leading for nearly all of the session, before Jorge Lorenzo challenged him for top position at the end. Lorenzo just ended the session ahead of his teammate, just a few thousandths of a second faster than Rossi. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow took 3rd, making it a clean sweep for the Yamahas.
It was a strong showing for Ducati as well. Nicky Hayden took 4th, ending fractionally ahead of Dani Pedrosa, while Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso took 6th and 7th. Stefan Bradl ended the day in 8th on the LCR Honda, while Randy de Puniet put in an impressive lap to grab 9th, ahead of Michele Pirro.
With a weak lunchtime sun having dried the track out, normal service - or something very like it - was restored for the Moto3 class. Luis Salom took top slot in the afternoon session, just edging out Maverick Vinales in the final moments of practice. Jonas Folger took 3rd slot, half a second behind Salom, while Danny Webb and Jack Miller put the Hondas close to the front, Webb's Suter just edging the Australian's FTR Honda.